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Nathan Dimitry

Nathan Dimitry describes how he saved his fellow partisan's lives after being betrayed by a farmer.

Nathan Dimitry was born on December, 10th, 1920 in Ejsziski, Poland to Dovid and Shoshel Dimitry. He was one of 10 children, with five brothers and four sisters. Although Nathan was personally not religious, he grew up in a Jewish kosher home. As a young man Nathan would go out of town to find work, was a member of youth organizations and dreamed of one day going to Israel.  

In Ejsziski violence escalated as the Germans were shooting people and rounding them up. Nathan escaped with his father and his brother to Radom. His brother escaped from the Radom ghetto and Nathan headed to Lida where he lived in the Lida ghetto for almost a year, doing a variety of jobs. He escaped to the forest in December of 1942. 

He left the Lida Ghetto with 28 people, with the intent of creating a partisan group. He then joined a Russian Partisan group. He worked on placing explosives along German railroads and blowing them up. Throughout the winter he survived by storing food from the spring months, traveling by night, never lighting a fire, and sleeping in the snow. In the spring months, life was easier as he could hunt and gather food. However, life among the partisans was very tense, with members turning on each other, murdering each other, and punishing each other, generally with a death sentence, for losing materials.   

Nathan lived in the forest from December of 1942 until the liberation of the Vilna Ghetto in July 1944. His life in the forest can be characterized by chaos, as on a daily basis he was shot at by Germans, Poles, and people of his own partisan.   His partisan group was involved in the liberation of the Vilna Ghetto, with more than half of them losing their lives. He met his wife, Norma, after the liberation.

After liberation, Nathan and his wife lived in an Austrian DP camp where the conditions were very poor and they were forced to steal to survive. After leaving the Austrian DP camp, they moved to Canada in October of 1948.  

Nathan Dimitry

If I stay in the Ghetto I’ll be dead like everybody. If I run away from the Ghetto I still got a little chance. I don’t want to go into the slaughter house like everybody. Shoot me in the back, shoot me in the head, shoot me in the front but not keep me by the hand and shoot me.